Jordan Elects New Board Members!

The Jordan neighborhood held its annual meeting last night (10/22) and elected five new board members:

  • Mike McCloskey, Catalyst Foundation employee
  • Keith Reitman, property owner and incumbent board member
  • Lynn Riskadel, resident
  • Dan Rother, resident and incumbent board member
  • Dennis Wagner, resident

Leaving the board are P.J. Hubbard, Deb Wager and Yulin Yin.  Michael “Kip” Browne leaves as an elected board member but remains as an ex officio member for the next year since he is the outgoing board chair.

Two people were selected as an elector and alternate for the Neighborhood Revitalization Program’s (NRP’s) annual election of four neighborhood residents to the NRP Policy Board.  Polly Peterson was selected as elector and Dottie Titus as alternate.  The elector will help select the Policy Board’s Revitalization representative (Minneapolis has 37 neighborhoods that identified themselves as Revitalization neighborhoods–Jordan is one of them) and the at-large representative.  That election happens on November 19 at the NRP location downtown.

The rest of the meeting…was informative and uneventful in terms of disruptions and loud voices.  It began with a welcome from Anne McCandless, a board member who served as Board Secretary until recently.  She introduced the board members who were present (Dave Haddy, Vladimir Monroe, Keith Reitman, Robert Hodson, Dan Rother and herself).  She then gave a summary of the accomplishments over the past nine months, which included:

  • A collaborative effort with Cleveland, Folwell, Hawthorne, and McKinley neighborhoods that obtained a Great Streets grant to be used to improve businesses along Lowry Avenue.
  • A prostate cancer education program attended by nearly 150 people (funded by the American Cancer Society).
  • A Clean Sweep effort in May that filled two garbage trucks and collected 118 (or was it 148?) tires from Jordan streets and alleys.
  • A summer program for children at Cottage Park this past summer that provided activities for kids Wednesday through Friday and included breakfast and lunch (spearheaded by the Pohlad Foundation)
  • Renovation of the community garden at 26th and Knox (partners included the Pohlad Foundation, Tree Trust, The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Program, Emerge).
  • Development of the concept for the Jordan and Willard-Hay portions of the 26th Avenue Bikeway and Greenway.
  • Maintenance at the Probation House on 26th and Irving and extension of the lease (renewal is in the works)
  • Cottage Park cluster beautification project on September 26th (partners included the Pohlad Foundation, Hearts and Hammers, Rebuilding Together, Urban Homeworks, RJH Construction).  38 homes got landscaping and beautification.  This included removal of chain link fences from the front yards of seven properties.
  • Pohland Foundation grants totaling $250,000 in 44 grants to homeowners in the Cottage Park cluster for home improvements.  In addition, the church on James Avenue just north of West Broadway will be receiving help (from the Pohlad Foundation) in renovations.

Anne then spoke of challenges, including the lawsuit against JACC and the need to reestablish credibility with our traditional funders.  In addition, there were the financial challenges:

  • Because the financial records of the organization were removed from the office in January and never returned, the board had to determine what JACC’s financial status was.
  • There were many unpaid debts
  • There was income available that had not been requested
  • The computers JACC owned were gone.
  • Piecing it all back together was a challenge with the books finally brought current through 8/31/09 in September.

A presentation was given by Hennepin County’s Brent Rusco on the four possible route for rapid transit in the north/northwest part of the county.  Public meetings were held in September and October.  This was a very short overview at JACC’s request.  Information on this subject can be found at Bottineau Transit. The detailed routes can be found at Bottineau Transit Maps. The County believes the route that runs on the railroad tracks through Theodore Wirth Park is the best route.  That route has stations at Golden Valley Road, Olson Highway (55) and Penn Ave, and Olson Highway and Van White Blvd.  This is the D1 option.  The community, however, voted 20 to 1 to support the D2 option which would run down West Broadway to Penn and then south on Penn to Olson Highway.  The stations on this route would be at North Memorial Hospital (actually at Rainbow Terrace), Broadway and Penn, Broadway and Plymouth, and Olson Highway/Van White Blvd.  The recommendations will go to the Policy Advisory Committee on October 30.  Dan Rother moved (Polly Peterson seconded) that the board write a letter to Hennepin County with the community’s preference.

Special recognition was given by Anne McCandless to

  1. Stacy Sorenson of the NRP for all the work she has done to support JACC over many years but especially over the past  year.
  2. Terry Egge, Marina Lyon, and Ilse Ekechuku of the Pohlad Foundation for all that they have done for the Jordan community, including Cottage Park (playground, beautification project, grants for housing improvements, and much more), the community garden, and the Pohlad Foundation loan program to encourage the purchase and rehab of vacant and foreclosed properties.
  3. Individuals who have been instrumental in JACC’s accomplishments, including Dan Rother, Polly Peterson, Robert Hodson, P.J. Hubbard, Tyronne Jaramillo, Keith Reitman and others (I didn’t write them all down).

At this point, the Nominating Committee was introduced and commended.  The committee consisted of Megan Goodmundson, David Hady, Todd Heintz, Tyronne Jaramillo, and Dottie Titus (Chair).  Dottie took charge of the meeting at that point and provided a brief summary of the committee activities.  She noted that the JACC bylaws state that a motion for unanimous consent may be made when the number of candidates (5 this time) is less than or equal to the number of vacant positions (9 this time).  She then introduced the candidates, and each gave a short speech about their reasons for seeking board membership.  Polly Peterson made a motion to accept all candidates by unanimous consent.  Robert Hodson seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

The NRP electors were selected, and committee reports followed.  Robert Hodson, JACC Treasurer, gave a presentation on the state of JACC’s finances and a summary of the forensic audit of JACC’s books.  That audit found that nearly 50% of expenses charged to grants JACC received were questionable [DT note: The final audit reports shows $106,000 in questionable expenses against grant funds of $219,000].

Polly Peterson presented the accomplishments of the Housing Committee.  She noted that JACC initially received about $6 million [DT note: it was actually $6.69 million] dollars in Phase I NRP funding.  99% of that money went into housing initiatives.  She reported that as of 12/31/08:

  • $4 million dollars has been invested in purchase or refinance/rehab loans
  • $400,000 went to rehab subsidy grants
  • $1.5 million dollars went into major redevelopment grants
  • $4.6 million dollars was invested on home improvement loans

The total ($10.5 million dollars) represents the original $6.69 million plus another $3.81 million dollars that JACC has “earned” through the wise investment of the majority of the funding in revolving loans rather than grants.  Bob Miller, Minneapolis NRP Director, was present and noted that over one half of all the properties in Jordan have been touched by those NRP dollars.

It was also noted that the Pohlad Family Foundation has made available forgivable loans of $8,000 to help the sale of foreclosed properties, and that program ends March 31st.

Daniel Rother introduced a presentation by Harold (didn’t catch the last name) of Biko Associates, who did the concept study for the Jordan portion of the 26th Avenue Bikeway/Greenway.   This presentation made good use of graphics to give the community visual representations of what 26th Avenue would look like under each of 3 options being considered.  It would be great if this presentation could be posted to the JACC web site and the JACC forum files so everyone could access it.  Biko’s concept recommendation is based on word from the city that re-doing 26th Avenue would probably not be scheduled before 2030.  While option 3 appeared to this writer to be the optimum (it provides a separate walkway on the north side of 26th Avenue, then a small green space, then a two-way bike path, a wider boulevard and then two lanes of traffic on 26th Avenue.  Biko’s recommendation does not preclude option 3 or option 1 but makes it possible for the bikeway to be completed earlier than 2030.  It proposes acquiring all the properties on the south side of 26th Avenue so that a boulevard, the two-way bike path and a sidewalk could be built on the acquired property.  It was not clear if they were recommending increased density housing be built on the remaining land on the south side of 26th.  In the Hawthorne portion of the greenway/bikeway, 26 row houses were part of the design on the north side of 26th Avenue.

The Biko presentation concluded the annual meeting.  The meeting went well, nearly ended on time (it started about 15 minutes late), and people left well fed and well informed.

Thanks to the Nominating Committee for their efforts in validating candidate eligibility and preparing for the election.  Thanks to presenters and speakers.  Thanks to the new board members.  Thanks, too, to people who provided food:  Robert Hodson an Dan Rother (donated two baked hams), Tyronne Jaramillo (donated a Halloween cake and cupcakes), Megan Goodmundson (donated some of the condiments), the Pohlad Family Foundation (Nutrisodas).  Thanks, too, to those who helped set up and clean up.

In the past three years, annual meetings have been expensive affairs.  One year ago, food alone was over $1,000.  This year, the Nominating Committee pulled it all off for $175.  It wasn’t a banquet, but pizza, Caesar salad, ham and rolls and cakes did the trick.  One of the purchased cakes noted an important anniversary: “Serving Jordan for 45 years”  Yes, JACC has been in existence for 45  years.  Happy Anniversary!


One Response

  1. On behalf on those of us who couldn’t attend, thanks for the outstanding summary of the meeting – much appreciated.

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